Oxford Art Factory
Friday 8 May 09
By Chris Murray
We Say Bamboulee opened up to a straggling crowd with their freakout-psych performance that has made them a popular support band of late. An hour later, Papa vs pretty were thrashing about with their undeniable prodigious talents to a 3/4 full Oxford Art Factory. Damn, the front man / guitarist can PLAY. Further evidence was shown with superbly executed indie-soul version of Prince’s Purple Rain… These kids – and I stress: KIDS… are musically a bar above the majority in Sydney, and their increasing profile is merit to their talents. Watch out for them. Post HSC, of course.
Art vs Science’s “indie-rock-infused-french-electro-hip-thrust-super-fun-happy-mega-party-jam” set begun as they normally do with their addictive combination of killer hooks, throbbing base, boderline piss-taking lyrics and the crowd pleasing synth mastery which has served them well since their inception in early ‘08. With obvious influence from the likes of stalwarts Daft Punk, The Presets, Juggies and Justice you’d expect a fairly predictable and deliberately crafted sound (particularly considering their name) – what AvS deliver on the other hand is an energetic, highly unpredictable, rock-injected, 100% LIVE performance. This was no-more evident than when mid-set the bass kick-pedal broke leaving drummer Dan W running up the street to find another. For most bands this black-hole would be 15 minutes of ass-sucking death – but in the greatest and most surreal display of musicianship I’ve seen for quite some time, Dan Mac picks up the axe and begins improv’ing on the fly, busting out epic guitar solos with witty lyrics of his long lost drummer. Another kick-pedal miraculously appears while the drummer is still MIA so Jim Finn (not known for his drumming) jumps on the skins to join Dan Mac and the boys proceed to give a crash course in the fine art of dance music composition, and in the process, with 1 man down, no prep time and most probably drunk, create a phenomenal and original banger, lyrics and all, that tore the roof off the sold out Art Factory! This was the defining feature of the show and all who were there will know what I mean.
Following Dan W’s return and a crazy amount of crowd surfing the boys finished on a high with, in succession their 3 hits Parlez Vous Francais, Flippers and Hollywood… I looked around a few times and had trouble finding someone who wasn’t loosing their shit, including the bar staff! Their music is fun, but it’s the performance which sells most, when they come together on stage, they’re among the tightest musicians you’re likely to see up close. And like all good musicians, they make it look easy!
The puritan snobs will criticise and tear down their brand of music as they do for anything popular that appeals to a young crowd – but I doubt this custom made festival band care too much about that, they’re too busy enjoying the shit out of themselves!